It ended Sunday, September 9, in Shanghai, the sixth edition of Sh Contemporary, the most important art fair in China, which has hosted over 90 galleries from 18 countries.
The internationality of the event has not passed unnoticed the episode of censorship occurred at the opening of the event, reminding us that one of Ai Weiwei is not an isolated case, as China is still very restrictive on freedom of expression.
The work in question is a photograph of Chi Peng entitled Monkey King, exposed by Gallery M97: a giant gorilla and a cloud of gray smoke coming from the Forbidden City. Early at the opening a police officer had reported the image, during his tour in the Shanghai Exhibition Center. A few hours after, the work had already been removed.
It is said that this year the censorship of political content is particularly vigilant because of the 18th Party Congress approaching.
This episode of censorship has aroused great interest among the public. For M97, however, was not the first time: last year as well the police made them take away another work from the wall, with just a result of speeding up the sale. The evening of the preview the work was already sold.
Actually Monkey King was regularly being approved by the authorities for a show last May in Beijing. It is incomprehensible why, after three months, there has been the challenge. Certain rules and benchmarks to the censorship of contemporary art do not exist: there is still a subjective matter, questionable, subject to the judgment of the officer on duty.
Not only in the case of Chi Peng, in this edition of Sh Contemporary. A giant print exposed on the upper floor, which depicted a beehive shaped mainland China, full of people, was immediately covered with a white cloth the first night. And being the work reproduced in the catalog, it was even banned the distribution of the volume.
In general, Massimo Torrigiani’s fair has been a great success, with 35,000 visitors attracted by the vitality of the Chinese market.
Among the Italian, Massimo de Carlo presented Yan Pei-Ming next to Carsten Höller, while Galleria Continua has presented a wide-ranging exhibition, including artists like Tayou, Antony Gormley, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Chen Zhen, Loris snipers.